Useful Information for Better Health from the Western Maryland Health System

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Greens Cuisine

Greens, such as spinach, collards, kale, arugula, Swiss chard, mustard and turnip greens and even wild greens such as dandelion greens and purslane, are nutrition powerhouses. They are showing up everywhere. Even dandelion greens can be found in upscale supermarkets, farmers markets, and restaurants. Greens are high in vitamins A, B, C and K, minerals, such as calcium, iron, potassium and magnesium, as well as fiber and disease-fighting carotenoids such as lutein, zeaxanthin and beta-carotene.

Dan Buettner, National Geographic fellow, Blue Zones researcher and author, states in his book, The Blue Zones Solution, that eating a cup of greens daily seemed to be one of the keys to a longer life in Ikaria, Greece. The Blue Zones are longevity hotspots around the globe, where people live the longest and healthiest lives. They include: Ikaria, Greece; Sardinia, Italy; Okinawa, Japan; Loma Linda, California; and Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica.

Promoting longevity foods, the WMHS cafeteria includes greens on the menu daily. Kale has been added to the salad bar, along with the usual leafy green lettuces and spinach blends. Collards, kale and spinach are regulars in the “home zone” hot food area. And soups containing greens are also served, including Italian wedding soup.

Add greens to your meals for better health. Here are a couple simple, delicious recipes that my family and I enjoy.

Kale Chips

With about 160 calories in 15 potato chips, kale chips make a great substitution with only about 50 calories per cup.

To make kale chips, preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Tear the kale leaves off of their stalk and tear into chip size pieces. Wash and spin dry in a salad spinner or dry with a towel. In a large bowl, add kale, 1-2 teaspoons of olive oil, salt-free herb seasoning and/or fresh minced garlic. Using your hands, coat each leaf. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or foil and spread kale pieces in a single layer and bake for 10-15 minutes until edges are light brown and toasty. Watch carefully at the end, as they go from lightly brown to too brown very quickly. Add a sprinkle of sea salt, if desired, after taking out of oven.

Green Machine Smoothie
·       1 cup fresh baby spinach leaves
·       1 1/2 cups chopped fresh honeydew
·       1/3 cup nonfat vanilla Greek yogurt
Blend and serve. About 160 calories. Source:

For more information about WMHS nutrition programs, call WMHS Outpatient Community Dietitian Theresa Stahl, RDN, LDN, at 240-964-8416 or email